Good things can sometimes happen when you don't mow the lawn.
Well, that is, if you live in a rural township where you won't get fined for letting the grass get a little long. I knew there were wild grapes, raspberries and gooseberries growing abundantly in the woods surrounding our house, and I noticed this tiny grapevine growing in the ditch on the edge of our yard.
So I told the boys and my husband not to mow the ditch. The boys certainly didn't mind, and my husband could have cared less - well, if there was a good reason for it, anyway. It's not like he wants the yard to look like a wild overgrown mess, but he realizes that I can identify edible things in the woods, so he trusts my judgement when it comes to wild foods.
This tiny, weed-like plant to the right is a raspberry cane, sprouting from the earth near the road.
I've discovered about 10 wild grape vines and an uncountable amount of thorny little raspberry shoots. Not all thorny plants in the woods of Minnesota are raspberries, though.
The American gooseberry is also very prickly. Each adult berry bush can yield 6 to 8 gallons of berries, which are great for jam and wine. This berry on the left isn't ripe, yet. When ripe, the berries are a stunningly beautiful shade of deep, wine red.
As with any wild berries or fruits, you must be certain that you've identified the plant correctly. Some plants are poisonous, and may look similar to other plants that are edible.
Like mushrooms, for instance. NEVER, ever pick wild mushrooms. Unless you have been trained to properly identify which ones are edible, it is far too easy to make a fatal mistake. If you eat a poisonous mushroom, you may be lucky enough to get to an emergency room; however, you might not. I'd rather not take that chance, mushrooms are much better from the grocery store, anyway :)